Frequently Asked Questions About Countertops


General FAQ

Is it necessary to seal stone?

Since stone surfaces are quite porous, they will absorb liquids which may results in discoloring and staining.  Our granite and marble countertops are sealed during fabrication and/or installation.  

This substance penetrates the stone clogging most of its pores making it quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee food and oils.  

It is recommended that your granite should be sealed at least once a year.  If the countertops are heavily used it is recommended to seal them twice a year.

What is the ideal overhang for my bar or breakfast area?

12 inches is most common for overhang for comfortable seating, however some people prefer more.  This area will need adequate support and will need to be discussed with your sales representative.

Can I keep my existing backsplash tile?

Yes, some customers choose to keep their existing tile backsplash.  However you must consider the following points:

  • The thickness of laminate countertops is 1 1 /2 inches and granite is 1 1/4.  The replacement causes a visible gap of about 1/4 inch between the new granite countertop and the existing tile.  You can solve this problem by using one of the following methods:
  • Apply caulk in the gap with matching color to existing grout. The new caulk like will be about 1/4 inch thickness instead of the normal 1/8th.
  • You can purchase and install a trim line from a tile supplier that fits between the tile and the granite countertop.  This should be done by a tile installer.
  • We can shim up the countertops to meet the existing tile, however you will most likely need someone to install a piece of cabinet trim to cover the shims


Price FAQ

What do you charge per square foot?

The fairest answer is it depends.  While the amount of stone required for your project is significate to the price, there are other variables.  For this reason, we prefer to first understand the variables of your project and then give you a prompt accurate estimate.  

We are careful to avoid any appearance of “bait and switch” marketing that can occur on the low end of our marketplace with square foot pricing.

What are the pricing  variables?

They include the complexity of your project, the type of stone selected, the edging design, the number and types of sinks, faucets and cook tops used, and the removal of existing tops to name a few.


Choosing a Stone Fabricator:

The process of purchasing custom stone is detailed.  As with any purchase, you need to determine what criteria are most important to you.  Be prepared to ask tough questions to determine the proper fit with a reputable source.

  • Are you searching for the absolute lowest price or looking more for overall superior value?
  • Is timely completion important?
  • How fussy am I about quality workmanship of both the fabrication and installation?
  • How heavily do you weigh the quality of materials used?
  • Will the company provide prompt answers to my questions and issues?
  • Do you value responsive service, integrity and the caliber of people that you deal with and will have working in your home?
  • Can you effectively communicate with the people working on your project?

Why should I choose Down East?

Thanks for asking!  While our pricing is competitive, our customers are looking for something more.  They value how we handle all of the details that go into producing a superior quality product and our responsive service.  They don’t want to be pressured to make a purchase.  

They want to work with professionals in every step of the process especially with those who perform work in their home.  They want their project completed on time with minimum disruption to their home and their lives.  Down East has a proven track record for assuring these results.

  • At Down East, we are frequently called upon to repair the mistakes of lower caliber fabricators.
  • We continuously measure our customer’s perceptions of our core values:  quality, responsive service and integrity.
  • We stand behind our work

Our customer testimonials say it better than we ever could – read what our customers have to say about our service and quality of work.

Do I need an appointment?

No, you can visit us any time during our normal business hours.


What is Granite?  

Granite is a natural stone composed of several large mineral grains tightly packed together.  The main components include Feldspar and Quartz with a mix of other minerals including Biotite and Muscovite.

The minerals Feldspar and Quartz, which are the major components of granite, are harder than steel, this is why throughout human civilization, granite has been used as a building material.

The mica mineral called Biotite and Muscovite are more minor components of granite and give it a glittery appearance.

Why is granite so popular?

Granite has emerged as the most popular kitchen countertop material because of its natural beauty and durability.

  • The elegance of granite countertops add value to homes
  • Heat, scratch and stain resistant
  • Granite outlasts even the life of the home
  • Very little maintenance is required
  • It is more affordable than many people think because of the abundant supply

Where does granite originate?

Granite is naturally formed in most parts of the world, but it is quarried in significant quantities in Brazil, India, Italy, Africa, Norway, Finland and China.  A majority of the desirable granite used for kitchen countertops in the USA are from Brazil, India and Italy

What should I consider when purchasing Granite or marble?

Granite and marble are creations of nature that have a unique natural beauty that has been used in architecture throughout the ages.  Since granite and marble are made by nature, each piece is unique and matchless.  

Customers who may not be familiar with these materials may expect the granite they order to identical to pictures of samples they have seen.  Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the material, the granite or marble quarried at one time may differ in color and veining from the sample.   A single granite or marble slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other.  

Should I use granite or marble for my kitchen countertops?

Marble is typically used for bathroom vanity tops and fireplaces.  It is not usually recommended for kitchen countertops due to the fact that it is easy to scratch and acidic substances such as vinegars, ketchups, citrus beverages, etc. can affect it.  

Granite, however, is considered the second hardest stone.  Most granite is not subject to etching by household acids or scratching by knives and pots or pans under normal use. Granite is a great choice for your kitchen countertops.

How do I clean and seal granite?

There are many granite cleaners on the market and those are the most popular. However, plain soap and water works just as well.  

Down East sells granite sealer and it is very simple to use.  Clean the granite with soap and water and make sure it is dry.  Use painters tape to tape the bottom of the faucet and around the sink.   Saturate the top with the sealer (it comes in a spray bottle) and let it set for about 20 minutes, saturate a second time and let it set another 20/30 minutes.  

Wipe off any sealer that doesn’t soak in.  Sealer does not change the finish of your granite or fill in any pits that may be in the granite.  It sinks into the granite and does not “coat” the granite.  Remember, your granite is sealed at installation and doesn’t need to be sealed for 1 year.

Will my granite countertops have pits on the surface?

Granite which is crystalline in structure sometimes has tiny pits (spaces between the various mineral crystals).  You do not see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished.

Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure that formed the granite ages ago.  These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of the stone and will not impair the function or durability of the granite.

Are seams necessary on granite countertops?

Because granite is a natural material and is mined from the quarry in blocks usually not more than 10 feet long, you may have a seam.  The visibility of seams depends on the granularity, color and pattern of the granite.  A small uniform grain will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain.  

A seam in a dark color will be less apparent than a seam in a light color.  A dramatic pattern with swaths of color will show more seams than a uniform pattern.  The seams are joined with an epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone as close as possible.  The joined area is smoothed, leaving only a thin line visible.

What surface finishes does granite come?

  • Polished: Shiny surface and is the most popular
  • Honed:  A matte finish
  • Brushed/Leather:  Texture you can feel and see

How much does Granite weigh?

Granite weighs about 16 to 17 pounds per square foot.

How thick is granite?

Down East uses 3cm granite which is approximately 1 1/4 thick.

Can Down East help me in granite color selection?

Yes, when you come visit us you will have help in making these decisions from our in-house color specialists at no additional cost.  Having installed thousands of kitchen countertops, we can share our experience to enhance your project with countertop color as well as tile selection, paint colors etc.

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